Winter Kayak Fishing – Cod a plenty

I headed out for a solo session at Whitley Bay at dawn this morning (17/12/16). I was feeling a bit jaded after celebrating a friends 40th the night before but I had a precious weather window and a pass so it had to be done. It didn’t disappoint. I only had a couple of hours before I needed to be back to head of to a bouncy castle party. The joys of parenthood.

I drifted for the first hour and had a fish a drop in between trying to keep 3 seals at bay who were looking for an easy meal. The tide was running strongly and all fish caught on the drift were small with the exception of one good Pollock and a chunky scorpion fish.

Later on I opted for a rest at anchor. I did some ground baiting and whilst the fishing slowed, the stamp of fish caught improved. Out of mussel, black lug and squid almost all were caught on the squid. This is not the norm for me but just shows that no two days are the same out there. In the short session I had over 15 fish and enjoyed every minute of it.

Below are some pics and a video:

Lovely day for it:

Plenty of cod about:

A nice scorpion fish:

This shows a couple of seals on the finder just as I returned a small cod. They repeated this strategy for 3 of my returned fish. You can see the cod working its way to the bottom. It looks like it just managed to escape….

A surprise pollock. A fair size as well:

Tea sorted:

A video of the session:

Fishing for Pollock

Hi All,

I went out on the hunt for Pollock on the 18th of August. I set out just as the sun was rising before 6 am. I have found early morning or later evening my most successful times to fish for Pollock here around Whitley Bay.

The sea was still choppy from the SE blow the day before (which was also forecast again later in the day). I love being out early (once I have managed to get out of bed).

Sunrise Whitley Bay

I headed straight for the kelp beds that cover most of the bay around the lighthouse area and picked up a small cod very quickly. This fell to a weedless shad.

Cod Fishing

After that I tried a variety of techniques and struggled to find anything for about 2 hours. Jellyworms, Fiiish Minnows and Artic Eels, jigged, trolled and cast and retrieved. Nothing was happening. The wind was starting to pick up as forecast and things were not looking too hopeful. I had orders to bring home some tea as well!

By this point I had drifted along to Seaton Sluice and decided to work my way back. I trolled most of the way and tried a number of drop offs I have marked and finally got some Pollock action.

This one fell to a jelly worm rigged weedless:
Pollock Fishing Jellyworms

This was a better fish that gave a good account caught on a white HTO Artic Eel cast and retrieved:
Catching Pollock

This one was the biggest of the session and fell to the same lure as above. It fought very hard and made the session all worth while. This one had tea sorted:
Pollock Fishing Lures

Pollock for tea

On the way back I lifted up a pot I had put down a couple of days ago. I had a lobster in it but it was undersized so back it went but not before a quick photo:
Lobster Fishing Kayak

I’ll hopefully fit in a few more Pollock sessions before the murky waters return and the cod goggles come on.

Cheers,

James

Fishing for Pollock in the North East

Hi All,

I got out for just for a very quick fish on Thursday. I only had a couple of hours free but it was the first day of the summer holidays and I was super keen. The wind was a bit of a pain. Nothing major but enough to make the drift faster than I like with light lures. I paddled straight to St Mary’s lighthouse and Whitley Bay and fished from there up to Seaton Sluice. In just a couple of hours I had 8 fish. These were a mixture of cod, pollock and coalfish with pollock making up the bulk of fish.

I had always read to not stop the steady retrieve when fishing for pollock until the lure reaches the surface. Up until this session I’ve never had a super late take but on this occasion I had 2 takes in the last foot of water. This was thrilling! The fish weren’t huge but such a late take followed by the express train dive in 20 ft of water kept me very entertained.

Some pics:

The red tinge of a resident kelp cod (spot the seal cruising underneath me on the finder! Plenty to keep the fish in hiding around here unfortunately):

Followed by a smaller one:

The average stamp of Pollock I caught:

Another:

This one taking a slug go:

Hopefully I’ll be out amongst the kelp beds in this area again soon with a few bigger fish to show you 🙂

Cheers,

James

Kayak Fishing the Mull of Galloway – Part 2

This was my second kayak fishing trip to the Mull of Galloway. The first was 3 years ago and it is something I had planned on doing every year over the bank holiday May weekend but bad weather put to rest the last 2 planned trips. However, mother nature looked favourably on Nathan and I this year. We were also keen to get our first tope. Nathan had a hookup on our first trip there which had him getting dragged about all over the bay but he never got it to the surface and ever since then I have been keen to get in on the action. Could this year be the year…..

We set off after work on the Friday and headed straight across to the Sands of Luce holiday park at the base of Luce Bay. This was the first time I had camped here but I will definitely be going back. The park was clean and had been recently refurbished with a fun bar for food and drink in the evenings.

On arrival it was a case of quickly getting the tent up before darkness fell and then a few cheeky pints to help us sleep. The weather was lovely and the wind light which meant one thing – midges! They certainly helped us pick up the pace when putting the tent together.

All set up and ready for a drink:
Camping Sounds of Luce Holiday Park

On Saturday morning we had planned on heading straight out to Luce Bay in a forecast light offshore breeze. However, as per 3 years ago, the weather here seems to have its own micro-climate. The wind was the opposite direction to forecast and 3 times as strong. This called for a trip to Port Logan to fish in shelter under the high cliffs. It was no hardship as the scenery around Port Logan is brilliant.

A nice place to paddle:
Kayak Fishing Port Logan

Plenty of pollock and coalfish were found but nothing of any size:
Kayak Fishing Pollock - Mull of Galloway

We anchored up for a bit and found plenty of the less popular dogfish:
Kayak Fishing Mull of Galloway

After a good 4-5 hours of fishing it was time to head in for some food and to see if we could re-energise to fish Luce Bay in the evening if the wind dropped. We had spent a lot of time searching for mackerel to use as tope bait but couldn’t find any.

By 5pm on the Saturday, the wind dropped to almost nothing. It was sunny and really warm. We almost settled for a few beers and a relaxing evening by the tent but the midges again, gave us extra encouragement to get back out on the water. This time, bait fishing at anchor in Luce Bay was in order.

We paddled out to a spot we had enjoyed success at 3 years ago. Once past the 30ft mark we found plenty of mackerel. It seems they were all in the bay rather than on the west side. I began to think that this was boding well for the tope fishing.

Mackerel Luce Bay

I dropped anchor and Nathan tethered next to me about 20 feet away. I put 2 rods down. One with a mackerel on a barbless circle hook for the tope and one lighter rod with squid for anything else that might be about.

We didn’t have to wait long. The first fish to the side of my kayak was a small thornback:

Kayak Fishing Thornback Ray - Scotland

Followed by a bigger one which put up a good fight on a 6lb class rod in the tide:

Kayak Fishing Thornback Ray Luce Bay

Kayak Fishing Thornback Ray - South West Scotland

Next up were some dogfish followed by my first red gurnard. I had always wanted one of these and find them a stunning fish:

red gurnard - South West Scotland Kayak

Shortly after this, things went a little mental. Nathan’s tope rod started taking line. Initially this was in stops and starts. Something was toying with him. Just as I was about to bring my tope rod in to keep things simple mine starting to take line. As if in on it together, we both had a fish on and chaos ensued. Nathan got dragged one way and me the other. Perhaps tethering was not a good idea!

After plenty of adrenaline, we got both fish to the surface. Mine was not a tope after all but still a first for me. It was a bull huss. I can see why they call them bull’s. This thing had a serious attitude problem. I managed a couple of pictures but it was not very obliging and was returned quickly.

Kayak Fishing Luce Bay - Bull Huss

Kayak Fishing Luce Bay - Angry Bull Huss

Nathan on the other hand had accomplished our mission and had a lovely tope at the side of his kayak. We had read up a lot on how to handle these but there is reading and then there is doing! It was interesting to say the least getting such a large fish across the yak but Nathan did a grand job quickly unhooking it, getting some photo’s and releasing it from where it came.

Well done Nathan:

Kayak Fishing for Tope - Scotland

After this it became a bit of a species session. In the evening I had caught coalfish, pollock, grey gurnard, red gurnard, dog fish, thornbacks, mackerel and huss but no tope. The sun was getting low in the sky and we decided to give it another 30 minutes or so before paddling in.

It was now my turn for some action. Click, click, click went the Abu 7000. The clicks then got progressively quicker and louder and it was fish on! It felt very different to anything I had hooked before and was like an express train. I was grinning ear to ear and my heart was pumping. It surfaced 3 times almost like it just wanted to say hello before diving back down to the depths.

Tope fishing Scotland

After 5 minutes the fight was over and the tope was ready to bring onto the kayak. That is what I thought anyway. Once on the yak it became very lively. Still, I managed to unhook quite quickly, Nathan took a picture and it swam away strongly which was a great site.

Kayak Fishing Tope Scotland

It was then time to head in to a beautiful view of the sun dropping down over Luce Bay:
Luce Bay, South West Scotland, Sunset

Saturday night we were in the mood to celebrate. The pub at the holiday park was suitably lively which was entertaining and once last orders were called a few more were had in the tent.

Sounds of Luce Holiday Park Bar

Relaxing - Sounds of Luce Holiday Park

Sunday came and we were not as quick to get out as we had hoped! We had one more fishing session to get in before we were to head back to the Toon. The weather was glorious once more so we headed back out into Luce Bay to see if we could get back in on the tope action. It didn’t disappoint. Mackerel were caught once more and Nathan was the first one into a fish. This was giving a great account of itself:

Playing a big fish - Luce Bay

It turned out to be the biggest of our trip. Does anyone want to suggest a size? I’m not confident in estimating this type of fish.

Big tope on the kayak - South West Scotland

Big tope on the kayak - South West Scotland

Big Tope - Scotland

Then it was my turn. I was becoming totally hooked on this type of fishing. The sheer power of these fish and the fight was an absolute pleasure. Cod and pollock fishing might never be the same again!

Kayak fishing for Tope

It wasn’t as big as Nathan’s but a lot of fun all the same:

Kayak Fishing Tope Luce Bay

Kayak Fishing Tope Mull of Galloway

By this point we had 2 tope in just over an hour and a half and 4 tope in total within 24 hours so figured that was pretty amazing seeing as we were both tope virgins before the trip. Much to my suprise, there was still time for one more rod bender! This was the smallest of the lot but perfectly formed:

Tope fishing - Luce Bay

Kayak Fishing Tope

Kayak Fishing Tope Dumfries & Galloway

At this point it was time to head back in to get the tent packed up before the long drive home. I was shattered but on cloud nine.

I’m pretty sure I will have to make my way across again before the summer is up and look forward to the next years bank holiday May weekend.

Video of the weekends tope fishing action:

Cheers,

James

Kayak Fishing Scotland – St Abbs 29-3-16

Hi All,

DaveP and I headed up to St Abbs on the 29-3-16 arriving late morning. I had fished at Eyemouth before but this was my first trip to St Abbs and I was really keen to try and target some Pollock amongst the kelpy drop offs.

This might be useful for those planning a trip up themselves. The car park is £1 per hour or £7 for the day and there is a £3 charge to launch from the slip in the harbour. It would be worth going up in a group just to cut down some of the costs.

The good news is that the car park is very close to the slip and from the slip you are straight into fishing territory dropping straight down to 30-40 ft as soon as you are passed the harbour walls.

Conditions were great. The sun was shinning (except for a 10 minute hail storm!) and the water was flat although the swell did build throughout the session. Dave and I worked our way North using a range of spinners, jelly worms and plastic lures. The water was crystal clear and the terrain was perfect for our target species but despite this, we struggled to find the fish. It is early in the year and I’m in no doubt that this place has a lot to offer later on when things pick up. Neither of us blanked though catching 4 in total. 3 came from almost the same spot around a smallish rock rising out of the water. We circled this rock and each time we got to a certain spot it was ‘fish on’.

3 of the 4 were a good stamp of fish and gave a really good account of themselves on the light lure rods. I was reminded very quickly why I love fishing for Pollock. It was a real battle to see if we could get them up to the surface before they found cover in the kelp.

Now for some pictures:

The place screams Pollock. Just 20 ft away from the shore and you can be fishing in 40ft of water:
St Abbs Marine Chart Navionics

Getting ready in the car park:
Fishing Scotland St Abbs

The slip from the harbour makes for an easy launch:
Launching Kayak - St Abbs, Scotland

Paddling out through the harbour:
Launching Kayak - St Abbs, Scotland

Stunning setting:
Kayak Fishing Scotland - St Abbs Head

A small pollock saves the blank:
Small Pollock Kayak Fishing UK

A better fish giving a good scrap on the Yuki Rubymar:
Yuki Rubymar - Pollock Fishing

Pollock fishing UK Splash

A better stamp of Pollock:
Fiiish Minnor - Pollock Fishing

Kayak Fishing Scotland Pollock

Dave getting in on the action:
Kayak Fishing Scotland

Bringing up a nice fish:
Kayak Fishing St Abbs Pollock

Conditions got increasingly lumpy which kept us alert:
Kayak Fishing St Abbs Head

Kayak Fishing St Abbs

One last Pollock on the paddle back which fell for a jelly worm:
Pollock Fishing Scotland

Good size Pollock - UK Kayak Fishing

Kayak Fishing Spot Guide – Cullercoats

Cullercoats is a great but often unused spot for kayak fishing. It has a very sheltered launch and relatively easy access as long as you can park nearby and can handle the steep concrete road. Once in the water you have a few options. Immediately out of the harbour you have a deep sandy bottom that can produce flat fish most of the year and whiting in the winter. Head south and you have long running reefs that produce pollock and codling. Then you enter Tynemouth Longsands.

Further North you have some excellent rough ground between Cullercoats and Whitley Bay. This ground is very rough and has sharp drop off’s. I’ve had a lot of fun fishing for Pollock and Wrasse in this area. You do not need to head out far to find them. Most of my catches have been in only 20ft of water.

Kayak Fishing Cullercoats

Cullercoats Bay. A very sheltered launch. The slip is steep but manageable and there is nice reef structure just North and South of the harbour.

Fish I have caught from this area:

Wrasse

Wrasse

Pollock

Pollock

Cod

Cod

Plan your trip:

I hope this has been of use to you. Feel free to add a comment if you want more information and please ‘like’ the page.

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Kayak Fishing Spot Guide – Black Middens

When my favourite spots are all blown out or have too much swell hitting them I have a few options in order to get my fix. These are the river mouth at Wansbeck, Cullercoats (if the sea is just about do-able) or Black Middens inside the mouth of the river Tyne. Black Middens is very easy to launch from. There is parking at the top of the beach and the slip is a gentle slope. It is nearly always accessible despite sea conditions. The only exception to this is a big Easterly or North Easterly swell that comes right in through the sea defences.

Once out I stick to the North end to prevent having to cross a rather busy shipping channel. It starts off shallow with a mixed sand and rock bottom. I’ve caught a good number of flatties in this area. Further along the sea wall it gets rocky. Cod can be caught here, especially when the sea has been rough prior to the trip out.

I have launched here a number of times when other spots would have been fine as it gives easy access to the reefs around King Edwards Bay. In addition, the end of the pier has some great pollock fishing if you can stay in position long enough against the strong flow. It is best to fish this area at slack water with no swell as conditions can deteriorate very quickly. On a fast tide run, the water gets very confused.

Just North of the North sea wall there is some nice sandy ground that holds big plaice. A friend of mine caught a lovely 3.5lb plaice from there.

Be careful if there is a match on or if people are fishing from the pier. Give them plenty of space so as not to have any nasty accidents with flying tackle.

Kayak Fishing Black Middens

The road down to Black Middens. Park at the car park at the top or at the side of the road if it isn’t busy.

Kayak Fishing Black Middens

Black Middens offers a lot of shelter when it is too rough else where.


Fish I have caught from this area:

Whiting

Whiting

Pollock

Pollock

Plaice

Plaice

Dab

Dab

Cod

Cod

Coalfish

Coalfish

Plan your trip:

I hope this has been of use to you. Feel free to add a comment if you want more information and please ‘like’ the page.

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Kayak Fishing Spot Guide – Blyth, Northumberland

The regular launch for Blyth is at a place called ‘hole in the wall’. There is a small car park just before you get to the barrier at Blyth Marina which is free of charge and where there is a ‘hole in the wall’ to allow access to the beach. There is a little bit of a lip to get over from the car park to the beach but it isn’t major and very easy if there are two of you. The distance from the car park to the water is very short (especially at high tide) often meaning there is no need for a trolley. From this launch spot you have a lot of choices when it comes to styles of fishing and species to target.

Firstly, you have a lot of sand banks inshore that provide good flatty fishing. I’ve had a lot of plaice and dabs from Blyth. I’ve had a few of the nasty weaver fish too. If this doesn’t take your fancy then there is catfish reef. This is a reef about ¾ of a mile off shore that can hold good cod on the right day. You can also paddle to the reefs just north of Blyth pier (see Cambois for more details on this area). The highlight of this spot for me is the wrecks. They are numerous but do require a bit of experience and good sea state as they are a good distance off shore. These hold the usual cod and Pollock but also provide the odd ling as well. In summer, Blyth is another mackerel hot spot and can be caught just about anywhere previously mentioned. Blyth is one of my favourite locations and one I hope to fish a lot more in the future.

Fish I have caught in this area:

Ling

Ling

Mackerel

Mackerel

Plaice

Plaice

Dab

Dab

Pollock

Pollock

Coalfish

Coalfish

Weaver

Weaver

Cod

Cod

Plan your trip:

I hope this has been of use to you. Feel free to add a comment if you want more information and please ‘like’ the page.

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Kayak Fishing Spot Guide – Whitley Bay

    Kayak Fishing at Whitley Bay – Location Guide

The location:

Kayak Fishing Whitley Bay

Whitley Bay Kayak Fishing Location overlooking St Marys Island and Lighthouse

Whitley Bay is a fantastic all round kayak fishing location. It has a lot of varied terrain offering quite a few species in close proximity to each other. It is also relatively sheltered as a lot of the large swell gets blocked by the outer reef allowing for an easy paddle out (particularly at mid tide) when other spots such as Tynemouth would be hard work.

The bay is shallow until you get to the outer reef whereby it drops away quite quickly. Most of the ground is rocky making it an excellent spot for cod fishing. Around the light house area there are large drop off’s and there is always a good chance of a pollock and wrasse. Further North of the Island there is some large kelp beds which are also worth a look at. It is rumoured that bass can be caught here on the inside reef but I’m yet to get one.

Further out towards yellow can (a marker approximately 1 mile out to sea) you will find more rough ground in approximately 60ft of water. This is again, cod country and if you are adventurous, there are a few wrecks not too far from there that are worth checking out.

Whitley Bay is one of my favourite areas to kayak fish from and has produced good size fish for me with cod and pollock both over 10lb fairly close to the shore.

Whitley Bay offers a few different options when it comes to launching the kayak.

Access Point 1:

kayak fishing spot St Marys Island Whitley Bay

Access Point: Ramp to St Marys Island and Lighthouse at Whitley Bay

This is a very easy spot to launch from at high tide. You can wheel the kayak down the road right into the water. At low tide it can be a bit of a pain getting the kayak up over the raised road but it is do-able (especially if there are two of you). The parking is not free though and at time of writing is £1.20 per hour which is a downside.

Access Point 2:

Whitley Bay Boat Station Kayak Fishing

Access Point: Steep ramp from the Golf Course at Whitley Bay

Whitley Bay Boat House Kayak Fishing

Access Point: Steep ramp at the Golf Course looking East at Whitley Bay

This is probably the most popular access point amongst local kayak fisherman. People park opposite the small golf club car park and walk across the dual carriageway. Parking here is free (note: the golf car park is not). The access is OK going down but it is steep. Going back up is a killer. It is only a short walk but the steepness can really test you. Especially if you are carry the extra weight of a good catch!

Access Point 3:

Kayak Fishing Whitley Bay access point 3

Access Point: Path from the car park at Whitley Bay

View from the road of the foot path that can be used to launch.

View from the road of the foot path that can be used to launch.

This is the spot that I launch from quite frequently as it is close to home. You can park in the large pay and display car park directly above the foot path and walk the kayak down. It is a good spot if you want access to the middle of the bay. The only problem is the last 10m stretch as this is over uneven rocks and pebbles.

Access Point 4:

Kayak Fishing Whitley Bay - Access point 4

Access Point: Easy ramp down to the middle of Whitley Bay beach

A view from the top of the concrete slip.  This is a very easy launch.

A view from the top of the concrete slip. This is a very easy launch.

This is the easiest access to the middle of the bay and is just slightly south of access point 3. The concrete ramp is wide and runs straight to the beach. It isn’t too steep either and is in quite good condition. The only problem is the distance to get to it as you will most likely still need to park at the large car park.


Fish I have caught in this area:

Coalfish

Coalfish

Cod

Cod

Ling

Ling

Mackerel

Mackerel

Pollock

Pollock

Pouting

Pouting

Wrasse

Wrasse

Lobster

Lobster

Octopus

Octopus

Scorpion

Scorpion

Plan your trip:

I hope this has been of use to you. Feel free to add a comment if you want more information and please ‘like’ the page.

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North East Cod Fishing

Hi All,

Early on in the week Friday looked do-able. Not great and most likely raining, but do-able. I started getting excited as the forecast was holding. This was dashed on the Thursday night when xcweather (along with other forecast sites) updated to show strong S winds around midday. What an ar*e I thought.

I woke up Friday to pouring rain and winds. DIY on the house kept me pre-occupied. However, around midday the rain stopped and weirdly the wind did not build. In fact, quite the opposite. It was dead calm. I quickly rigged up and set out at Whitley Bay to the mark that produced my PB 5 days prior except it was a low tide and only 20-25ft. Would it produce again for me?

The swell was 2-3 ft and confused when I started but forecast to build so was one to keep an eye on.

All set up and ready to go:

Fishing was again, very good. All fish were taken on black lug tipped with squid. To start with I was plagued by pouting after pouting. They aren’t shy of taking big baits on big hooks! I then had a 3-4lb cod. That was better I thought. Now can I find any others?

A couple of snaps of at least half a dozen pouting:

The first cod:

I started ground baiting again and the cod kept coming. I then had a massive take on the 12-20lb rod. Violent head shakes taking line from the reel. It had all the hallmarks of a good cod. It lasted all of 5 seconds before the hook pulled out. Gutted!

The short lived fight on the ‘one that got away’.  The face and tilting kayak says it all.  There was a lot of power there….:

I re-baited and put the rig straight back over the spot. I didn’t have to wait long. Bam! Fish on. It felt of similar proportion and it didn’t get away. In my rush to get out I forgot my scales so no real idea of size.

Its a big one 🙂 :

What a beauty.  The fish finder shows you the mark  ::)

More cod followed but not as big. I then had take on my 6-12lb rod. This was different though. It kept crash diving to the bottom. It felt like a pollock but I’ve never had one take static bait off the bottom before. On surfacing, my suspicions where confirmed. It was a good pollock of approximately 5-6lb.

I had been out about 2 hours and the swell was building quickly so decided to head back in. The tide had risen and there was quite a shore break which made the paddle in interesting 🙂

I created a 3 minute video of the trip:

Forecast looks mint for tomorrow. I’ve committed to keeping my father in law company on his boat but will be keen to hear how others get on in the area as it seems there is a really good stamp of fish about at the minute.

Cheers,

James

More Pollock at Whitley Bay

A short session today around the back of the lighthouse. I had to work hard for the fish but was rewarded in the end. One thing that struck me more than any other session I’ve had before was the number of fish I lost! It was driving me mad. I was fishing like a doughnut! It was a case of fish on then, half way up, fish off. Two takes felt like potential PB contenders. It was very peaceful on the water up until these moments when I couldn’t help but scream a little. Still, it made for an exciting session.

I struggled to find any decent cod despite a 10lb’er being pulled out of this area earlier in the week. I had a few but all small.

What was enjoyable was the amount of Pollock around. I’ve not caught them around here this late in the year before but with the settled weather the water is so clear they are all still to play for. Long may it last 🙂 I’m really starting to get this location wired but will most likely need to log it to memory for next summer when the weather turns.

Time for some pictures:

The first pollock within about 5 minutes of fishing:

Then another:

All returned to fight another day:

A few more:

This one went nuts! Not huge (approx 4lb) but it just wouldn’t tire. Even at the surface it was one seriously frantic fish. I didn’t think I’d get it on the yak before it slipped the hook:

I also managed a few mackerel. It is great that these are still around and will do nicely for my lobster pot bait. This one took a large Delalande Swat Shad. Greedy blighter.

Catch Reports cod Fish pollock Whitley Bay Leave a comment

There be Pollock at Whitley Bay

Hi All,

I managed an early morning session at Whitley Bay today. Conditions were brilliant with clear blue skies and no wind (until around 11 am anyway). Fishing was generally pretty slow but I did get some nice Pollock which kept me entertained.

First off I headed to a new (to me) wreck mark about 1.5 miles out. On the second drift I got a nice Pollock on jelly worms but then didn’t get another bite.

I then headed back to my old faithful and fished the marks around St Mary’s Lighthouse. The seals were there in numbers again. I picked up a few small cod and another couple of good pollock before returning home.

It was great to just be out on the water in such calm conditions. It would be great to get these more often 🙂

The launch:

The conditions:

The action:

The seals:

The fish:

More lobster, a lost ling and a lot of wind

I’ve had a couple of trips out over the last two days. On Thur night / Fri morning I fished with my creel for the second time. I wanted to see if my 2 lobster on the first outing was a fluke. It probably was but this trip even more so.

Anticipation building on the approach.

Greeted by a pot full of lobster. 4 in all.

Three were under size and went back to fatten up:

One was a good bit over the size limit and came home for tea.

With the shell fish trip out of the way my thoughts were on a trip back out at Blyth with Dave (DT1). Especially seeing how well the local lads did on the Thursday when I was working. Saturday looked like a nice weather window and a plan was hatched to meet at ‘hole in the wall’, North Blyth for a launch at 6.30am.

The setting:

Stealths ready for action:

The wind turned out to be a right pain in the a**e. The forecast 5-8mph turned out to be a choppy sea of white caps for most of the session. Fishing was hard. I struggled and only hooked a couple. Dave “the fish magnet” DT1 didn’t have the same outcome and well and truly showed me how it was done 🙂

Our first spot proved fruitless but a move a 100 yards or so made all the difference. On the first drop in this new area we both hooked into good fish. Mine was on the drift a fair way up from the bottom with a jellyworm and screamed pollock. After a few big runs it began to tire and I gained some ground. The whole time this was going on Dave was wrestling with what looked like a very big fish as he struggled to get his rod tip out of the water.

My fish finally came to the surface and to my surprise it was a good ling. I was over the moon although this was very short lived. It did a roll and slipped the hook. I think the pictures say it all. From elation to dismay in about a second!

Dave won his battle to be greeted by a double hook up. A 6.5lb pollock and a good size cod.

After that eventful few minutes the fishing became very hard (for me) and I only pulled up another cod.

Dave proceeded to bring up another half a dozen cod!

My fishing was poor but the trip was great.

Cheers,

James

Evening / Night Fishing – Whitley Bay (mackerel and seals)

Hi All,

Andy, Kiwi (Nathan) and I headed out at Whitley Bay around 5.30pm last night with a plan to fish into dark and coming in around 10pm. Conditions were lovely, company great and fish obliging. I struggled to find mackerel in any real numbers this season. That was until last night. They were everywhere! I stocked up on a dozen pretty quickly for winter bait (and some tea) and then firmly put the cod and pollock goggles on. The cod were there pretty much from the off taking a fancy for the fiiish minnow and slug go worms. No real biggie’s. Largest about 4lb. The pollock were harder to find but I did get a good one only to lose it right by the side of the yak. Still, the fight was fun.

The seals around the island are getting more curious each trip. This time around they were being a right pest. I couldn’t fish my usual pollock marks as a result. I could see them on the finder right underneath me taking it in turns to shoot up to the surface!

The night fishing was less productive. Cod were happy to take squid and black lug but no real size. Last night session I had scorpion fish and octopus so always hoping for something a bit different but it was not to be.

A thoroughly enjoyable session.

James

Pics:

An early kayak fish – Blyth – 16-8-15 – Ling

Dave and I met at the ‘whole in the wall’ at Blyth at 5am. Our plan was to fish a few spots a mile or so out. Dave led the way (even more so than normal with my broken plotter / fish finder) and what a great guide he was. We paddled out into great conditions but struggled to find fish at the first spot. I had a coaly and a cod and Dave a mackerel but nothing much to shout about.

We moved on. This was a great decision. We had a good stamp of fish from the off. A dozen or so cod with most around the 4lb mark and a couple of nice Pollock plus a pb Ling for me which was weighed on shore and was a touch over 10lb. Happy Days! A very enjoyable morning out and back on shore for 10am.

Pics:

Video (It would have been much better if it weren’t for the bloomin drop of water on the lens!):

Kayak Fishing North East – 7 species, a great morning

I managed a mornings session yesterday (24/7/15) before the weather turned. Forecast was for very light winds and with little swell for a few days clarity was also going to be good. The clarity part was right and for the most part the wind was light although it kicked up quite a bit towards the end. The wind always seems to make an appearance these days.

I couldn’t resist a couple of pictures of the light house before launch given how nice the conditions where.

My plan was to get some paddle fitness in and mix it up a little and go for different species. I’ve not tried this specifically before but I’ve been spurred on by the great pics of the Oxwich species comp. I initially planned to paddle the couple of miles or so straight up the coast to the sand bars at Seaton in search of flatties. I haven’t targeted these at all this year but really enjoy eating them!

On approach to the light house I could hear the barking and roaring of the seals. The island is teeming with them at the moment including a lot of pups. I know some find them a pest but I personally love seeing them (as long as they do not get too close!). It must be a sign of good fish stocks but it cannot help fishing when they are only a few feet away!

This area screams Pollock and temptation of starting fishing before the flatty ground got the better of me. A quick cast out into a favourite spot of mine and bam, straight in! Not a Pollock though but a nice Ballan Wrasse which fell to a 12g Black Fiiish Minnow.

1 species down. I had a couple more casts but then managed to get back to the plan and continued to paddle to Seaton Sluice (but trolling a lure in case a hungry Pollock was about).

On arrival to Seaton Sluice it took me a little while to find a nice sand bar and then I set about drifting spoon rigs. One had black lug tipped with squid, the other a white XL Isome Worm. I was keen to see how they compared. The flatties were very obliging. Nothing big enough for tea but half a dozen caught (mostly dabs with the 2 plaice) before thoughts of rough ground started. 2 fell to Isome worms. 4 to black lug. I also caught a couple of mackerel which took it to 4 species.

I then paddled to some ground near Hollywell Bay that grabbed my attention on the paddle across to Seaton Sluice. First drop with an inline 4” slug go and bang! A good cod of about 4lb came to the surface after a good fight on light gear. This action continued for about half an hour with a cod a drop. Some were pretty small but good fish were amongst them. I also tried the HTO Artic Eel for the first time in rhubarb and custard. This is a weedless lure similar to the Fiiish Black Minnow but slightly cheaper and has a built in rattle. In addition, it is longer and thinner with the hook running further along the body. They worked very well for me for cod and pollock and I look forward to using them again (see vid).

Some cod shots. Lures finding a good stamp:


On the drift back towards the light house I had a couple of surprise hits. Two pouting / scotch haddock fell to my lures. I have caught these around yellow can off Whitley Bay before but not in this area. They were also PB’s for me. One had thick brown bands running down its body. The other was solid brown with no bandings. Are these the same species or can I add another one to my list? Any info appreciated.

Pouting with bands:

Dark / brown Pouting (double hook up with a good cod!):

With 6 species under my belt I wanted a Pollock. These had been a little thin on the ground over the last few sessions with only 1 or 2 being caught after quite a bit of effort so I wasn’t sure how this was going to pan out. Fortunately, luck was with me today. I switched to a more natural HTO Artic eel colour (the “Grippan”) and paddled to some thick kelp beds that I have had luck in before. I didn’t have to wait long before I was in with a good size Pollock. I love these fish and cannot get enough of the fight they give.

Pollock action shot:

A good start to the Pollock fishing:

There were a lot. On almost every drop or cast and retrieve you could see one following the lure on the fish finder.

A lot of big smiles and grins from ear to ear followed as 3 more came to the yak but none bigger than the first.


7 species done and it was time to head home. That fix will keep me going for a while. What a great hobby of ours Kayak Fishing is.

A video for those with a spare 5 minutes:

Cheers,
James

Kayak Fishing with Seals – Whitley Bay

Hi All,

I had a really lovely evening kayak fish at St Mary’s Lighthouse (Whitley Bay) on the 25/5/15. I launched with Nathan from the St Mary’s Lighthouse car park at 6.30pm (free parking at this time and a doddle to get down to the waters edge).

Conditions were lovely after what seems like a relentless wind. We went hunting Pollock to start with. Nathan struggled but I pulled out a few trolling a deep diver. None of any real size though.

We then went further out for some cod and had plenty. Again, mostly small but all good fun on light gear. I caught all mine on shads of various colours. Nathan switched to bait as the dark approached which resulted in a couple of nice stamp fish.

I was really badgered by a couple of young seals during this trip. For about 30 minutes they would not leave me alone. Initially I found it amusing and enjoyed the company and the close up views. After a while it became a bit disconcerting. I kept paddling away but they would soon return. At one point I thought they were going to try and jump on the back and front of the kayak. I’m pretty sure this would have ended up with me in the drink but after a few pokes with my paddle they finally lost interest (note: No seals were harmed during this fishing trip!).

We fished into darkness and it was magic paddling back in with the lighthouse lit up. One of the nicest sessions I’ve had in a while.

Now for some pics:

All ready to go:
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Into small Pollock early on with deep diving lures:
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Love light lure rods. Every fish is a monster!
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Pesky / cheeky seals:
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Shame this didn’t come out better. Look closely at the big lump at the rear. The seal’s mouth is touching my kayak!
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Never far away despite my singing, shouting, splashing and anything else I could think of!
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Nathan – hard to get this guy smiling. He has mastered the ‘blue steel’ pose though
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Losing the light but not the bite 🙂
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Nathan with a nice one in the dark:
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Heading in. I was loving the illumination of the lighthouse. Very atmospheric.
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Back on shore. Nathan with one of his keepers:
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Couldn’t resist another shot:
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Cheers,

James

Weedless rigs for Pollock and Cod – Kayak Fishing

Hi All,

I’ve been experimenting with the best ways for me to target Pollock (and now red kelp cod) from the thickest and extremely snaggy kelp beds found on most shorelines but in my case Whitley Bay, Cambois, Newbiggin, Embleton and most recently Eyemouth in Scotland.

This experimentation started at the beginning of last year after wanting to catch more and more pollock and losing more and more rigs to the kelp forests. With conventional shads and jig heads with exposed hooks it seemed it was only a matter of time before I lost the rig much to my frustration.

In addition, I was having a lot of success trolling deep diving lures. At approx 1.5 – 2 knots paddle speed the lure was diving to around 10ft which got regular hits in 20-25 ft of water with kelp beds. However, a sudden shallowing in terrain would result in one of the 2 sets of trebles getting snagged. A lot of the time these were lost.

Deep Diving Lures:
Firstly I removed the trebles for single hooks. These are in line single hooks so they are presented correctly. The decoy plugin ones work well (https://www.veals.co.uk/acatalog/decoy-pluggin-singles-3537.html). These have micro barbs and reduce snagging significantly and are so much kinder to the fish. Before, treble hooks could leave the fish in a right mess with front hooks in the mouth and rear in the body. This is far less likely with the single hooks and they are so much easier to remove. I have not noticed less hook ups and the pros far out weight the cons in my opinion.
Secondly I’ve become much better at monitoring the fish finder whilst trolling. With practice I’ve managed to control my speed to bring the lure up closer to the surface whilst travelling over shallower ground.
Thirdly, I’ve found adding a ‘teaser’ fly approximately 2ft before the deep diving lure deadly. More often that not the Pollock have grabed the teaser rather than the larger lure.

Picture of the set up:
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Weedless Jelly Worm Rig:
This has become my go to rig for Pollock and it will take the occasional cod. I’e had a lot of success with this rig and I can fish it right through the deepest of kelp beds and rarely get snagged. If it does snag a little it almost always pulls through when tugging from a few different directions. I have a bullet lead on a short sliding trace of about 1-1.5ft. I vary the bullet weight depending on what depth I’m wanting to fish at. I then have a flowing trace of 3-4ft with a weedless hook which I attach to a jelly worm. Normally I just a 5g cone weight near the weedless hook just to help the jelly worm sink with the bullet weight but in the photo below I’m using a savage gear dart hook. This isn’t necessary but I had some lying around.

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Weedless shads (Black Fiiish Minnow, Delande Swat Shads, Savage Gear Weedless Sandeel)
These are brilliant but not cheap. However, I’ve invested in quite a few different sizes and weights and really rate them. In addition, loses are small so whilst it is expensive up front you should have them a while. My favourite for waters less than 20ft is the Black Fiiish Minnow 120 (12g). For water between 20-30ft I switch to the 120 25g model. For deeper water the 140 40g works well as does the Delande Swat Shad 50g. The white version of the swat shad has been great for me when hunting the kelpie cod off the bottom. I’ve only just started using the Savage Gear Sandeels on weedless hooks so time will tell.

For Pollock in deeper waters I drop straight to the bottom and then fast retrieve to about 10ft below the kayak and then drop down again. I’ve had hits right up in the shallows which is a real rush so keep winding and don’t assume nothing is chasing it. In shallow waters I opt for a cast, sink and fast retrieve. I sweep the area whilst drifting to find the fish.

For cod, my method is really simple. I drop to the bottom and just bounce and twitch it so it goes approximately 1ft from the bottom and back down again. If there are cod there, it isn’t usually long before you get a tug followed by a nice bend in the rod 🙂

Below shows the mixture of lures I’ve been trying out:
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Cod
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Greedy one this one:
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Drop Shot Jigging Cod Rig:
This is a relatively new rig which I’ve been experimenting with after reading about it here: http://seakayakfishing.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/weedless-jigging-rigs-for-cod-and.html

In short, it works a treat. I’ve tried this on the last 3 kayak trips and I’m still using the same rig. I bought some 6oz in line weights from EBay and have plastic shad rigged weedlessly attached to the bottom ring with a split ring. About a foot above the in line weight I have a 4″ sandeel imitation rigged up using a drop shot knot. I use this for fishing waters deeper than 40ft and use the method as per the shads for cod (i.e. bouncing off the bottom with small twitches). I’ve yet to have a cod take the bottom shad but had a lot of hits on the sandeel.

Picture:
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Rapala Weedless Shad 80 – The verdict is still out on these
I’ve just bought a couple of these to use on my light 8-25g lure rod. The finish on them is great. I’ve only had a couple of casts with them to date to observe their action and they have a great wobble. I’ll have to update you on how I get on with these.

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Well, there you have it. These are my rigs that I use throughout the summer when fishing for Pollock and Cod. I very rarely lose a rig giving me much more time to fish and they work. I’m really keen to hear what works for you or how my rigs can be improved further so please reply with any feedback.

Cheers,

James

Kayak Fishing – Eyemouth Pollock

Myself, Graeme and Nathan headed up to Eyemouth early doors and arrived at 6am. This was our first outing here and the forecast was a bit of a gamble as a building SE wind was due to kick in from midday. We were really keen on hunting down a few Pollock and it didn’t disappoint although the wind was a real pain.

Turning up at the beach:
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Time to get set up. Anticipation of fish building…
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Initially fishing was slow. Graeme was in first with a small cod followed by a pollock. I had a great hit on a deep diving lure I was trolling but no sooner was it ‘fish on’ it was ‘fish off’.

I bounced a few shads off the bottom in search of cod and got rewarded with this fellow:
Cod
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We then found an area were Graeme and I were getting regular hits on the weedless jelly worms but couldn’t connect. They were just tugging at the tails. I was getting a little frustrated.

We had a paddle around to the next set of rocks but the increasing wind started kicking up a wind swell that made it uncomfortable with white water near where we wanted to be. We headed out into deeper water.

We found a likely spot and it was solid action for about an hour. It didn’t seem to matter what we put down. We had them on Black Fiiish Minnow 120’s, Delande Swat Shads, Jelly worms and Slug go’s all presented weed-less.

Myself, Nathan and Graeme all had action.

Pollock number 1:
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A little better:
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Getting a bit lumpy
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Graeme with a lovely fish caught in only 12ft of water.
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A few more:

Eyemouth from the sea:
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Nathan enjoying himself:
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Where is Nathan?
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Eyemouth at low tide. Pollock heaven!
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The final haul. That will keep us fed for a while 🙂 It is surprising what a consistent size they all were. I’m really looking forward to getting back in on the action up here later in the year.
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Kayak Fishing – St Mary’s Lighthouse – A double figure pollock

Hi All,

I went out at Whitley Bay this afternoon. This was the first fish on my new Stealth Pro Fisha despite having it for weeks so I was excited to say the least. It was also the last day of the summer holidays (teacher!) so I was keen to make the most of it. I was on the water for just after 2pm. It was sunny and the water was calm and had cleared up nicely after the long period of swell we have had lately. I had a good feeling about this trip.

I trolled a diving lure to the North of St Mary’s Island without a touch. I then settled in to finding decent drop offs amongst the kelp and casting and retrieving jelly worms rigged weedless. It was all a bit slow with only a couple of bites but no connections. I was becoming a bit despondent.

Finally I got a solid bite on a black and yellow jelly worm. It was a pollock and a nice one for me. Just what I was after.

Then another lull. I went back over the same area, tried new areas but nothing was happening. On top of this the wind was building from the SE. Where was the 3mph SW wind that was forecast? The sunny day had created a strong sea breeze. The flat calm was also starting to get choppy.

I then found a really nice drop off from 12ft to 30ft covered in kelp. The wind was blowing me against the tide but I found an area full of fish and was not going to head in until I had caught a few.

Another on the black and yellow:

A bit quiet so figured they might be getting wise to the black and yellow passing by them every 5 or so minutes. A switch to blue and pink jelly did the trick.

And another:

Another 🙂

Bearing in mind my PB pollock to date was about 3-4lb I was really chuffed. All fish caught were a good stamp of fish and at least on a par with my best prior to the session. It was turning into a red letter day but it was about to get even more interesting. I got a very big take on the same blue and pink worm. I was fishing with a light spinning rod and 20lb line on a fixed spool real. The rod was bent double into the water and the reel was screaming. I was losing the battle fast. I managed to get some line back and tightened the drag before it went on another screaming run and found it’s way deep into the kelp. There was no budging it and after 10 minutes of trying to get it out the line gave way. I was gutted. This was without doubt the biggest fish I had hooked since getting into this great sport.

I needed a break so went for a bit of a paddle trolling a deep diving lure. I got a nice hit and yet again, lost the battle. The lure was quite a way from the kayak and the fish had an easy time finding cover before I could get it into shallower water. Still, this time I managed to pull it out. Not as big as I was expecting but still nice.

I then went back to the spot that left me gutted about 15 minutes prior. Down went the blue and pink worm and bam! Another screaming run. This time I lunged at the spool to stop the drag with brute force. I thought a knot was going to give way or the line was going to snap but was desperate to keep it from the kelp after the last one. This felt huge and fought really hard. I finally saw a glimmer of gold underneath the water and thought ‘holy cow!’. It was big. My heart was pumping. I had won the battle and it was by far the biggest pollock I have ever caught. There was no room for it on the deck or my lap!

I decided to head in after this as conditions had deteriorated quite a bit and I couldn’t see how I could better this fish. On shore I asked a bystander to take a snap for me.

All other fish went back to fight another day but I couldn’t return this one. Back home it was weighed and came in at 10lb 3oz. Woohoo! A double figure 🙂 🙂

Cheers,

James

Holiday in Gairloch (NW Scotland) with some kayak fishing

Hi All,

I’ve just got back from a family holiday to Gairloch. I took my Malibu Mini-x in the hope of getting in the odd mornings kayak fishing. It turned out to be a great week away. The weather wasn’t particularly sunny but I did get some very light winds in the morning which made for some excellent kayaking conditions. I’m still really new to kayak fishing and had no real information on productive marks so it was a bit of trial and error. I also have only really had success on bait up until now and was determined to catch on shads. My 2 missions for the week were to catch with shads and catch a species other than a flattie, a cod or a Pollock. Well, 1 out of 2 isn’t bad…..

Firstly, the view from the Cottage. The location was perfect. The cottage was very basic but was fine for the week. I was able to roll the kayak down the trolley straight to a slip into the loch about 5 minutes away.

The loch was pretty deep. The deepest I had paddled in was around 80 ft at Newbiggin (North East). At Gairloch, I only had to paddle approx. 50 yards from the rocky shores to find myself in approximately 100 ft of water. I know this is pretty shallow by Scottish loch standards but still found it a little eerie.

The deeper parts seemed like a desert on the fish finder. I did try a few spots around 70ft and found I was getting very regular twitches but whatever it was just stripped the bait with no proper takes. Perhaps it was just tiny fish or crabs….There were several rocky outcrops within the loch which I focussed my fishing efforts around. The fish finder would go mental around these areas.

The water was the clearest I have ever seen it. In 20ft of water I could easily see my bright orange shads. This wasn’t 20ft, more like 8-10ft but it gives you a good idea

These areas were rammed full of mackerel. I was finding it impossible to get past them on hokkais and the like. They were also really small in comparison to this seasons mackerel from the North East. All were below size. However, I was on a mission to get my first fish on shads and mission was accomplished quite a few times. Theses spots had a good number of Pollock, all around the 3-4lb mark. I couldn’t find anything bigger but loved the direct feel, feeling them take the shad and avoiding temptation to strike and then wham! I was buzzing. Below are a few picks of the specimens. Nothing big but kept me very entertained.

Only 1 cod in the holiday (3 fishing outings). It was the smallest I’ve had yet, still, a cod is a cod….

The one problem with light winds was the midges. By the time we went out to beaches, tourist attractions etc, the wind was up enough for them to not be a problem but the early rises for the fishing in almost no wind meant I was to become very well acquainted with the little blighters. The midge net was great. I looked a complete tit but the alternative was not pleasant.

Below are not really fish related but show the area. It really is beautiful and if you just want a bit of escapism for a week or two, I would really recommend it.

This one was taken at the camp site at Big Sands beach, just outside Gairloch. It is a really nice campsite with pitches for tents, campers, wig wams and statics (this is my camper in the pic). The facilities all looked in really good conditions.

The rest are scenic shots from my paddles to the few islands. I was often out as the sun was rising and had the whole place to myself. A blank wouldn’t have mattered. The scenery was enough for me.

Not much of a catch report but hopefully my catches will improve. The area has real potential and sightings of Minke whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks are common. The tourist boats has all shown sighting reports of these in the week I was there. They also had pictures of sightings of Orca’s and even a walrus but these were far less common.

If anyone is thinking of a trip to this area and want to know a little more, just reply or PM me for more info on nice places to eat out, good pubs, etc etc…

Cheers,

James